The 4-week summer holiday is over and I’ve been back at work for a week. Recovered and charged up, but also a bit overwhelmed after spending the week catching up and orientating to the fall as well as getting used to the different daily rhythm. In Finland – and in many other European countries – it’s standard to take a 3-4-week holiday, pretty much regardless of what you do for work. This is a huge cultural difference to for example North America, where people might find even the thought of “leaving work” for 4 weeks at a time irresponsible at best!
Working in a small company, in the fast-moving field of wellness technology, with contacts and clients all around the world, I do find it somewhat challenging to be gone that long. It definitely takes more planning than just shutting the office door! Once the holiday starts, I almost ceremoniously remove the e-mail symbol from the front page of my smart phone and make sure that e-mail doesn’t get synced automatically – so the accumulating e-mails are not too easily visible to me. This really helps. Some people consciously leave their e-mail unchecked for the entire holiday, trusting that others can handle matters in their absence. Many “official holiday guidelines” suggest just that, but I find that checking the mail 1-2 x per week works for me: delete junk, ignore the ones that can wait (they did after all get my holiday notice!) and forward those that need an acute response. It can be risky though … you have to just go in and out, without getting too involved, otherwise your mind does not get the break that a holiday is supposed to provide!
The “goals” of a holiday can vary a lot, depending on your situation. It can be an ideal time to step up your fitness routine, travel and meet friends or pour yourself into various house/yard projects. Or it can be a time to forget to-do’s and let yourself chill … sleep in, read, stare at the sky. There is no right way, the main thing is finding what works for you. This summer my focus was on recuperating – mentally and physically – from a hectic winter and spring. It meant keeping a pretty empty schedule and allowing myself to “fly by the seat of my pants” as much as possible. Time with family, especially with my sons, was high on the list too. For exercise, I forgot target heart rate zones and EPOC values and did whatever felt good – kayaking, rowing, walking in the woods, small yard projects.
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